United Church of God

UNITED YOUTH CAMPS: Carter Campers Brave the Heat, Focus on Leadership

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Carter Campers Brave the Heat, Focus on Leadership

The end of July in Fort Worth, Texas, is always hot, and this year was no exception. Thankfully, God blessed us with temperatures in the 90s instead of the 100s like the week before. That coupled with some nice breezes helped 108 campers and 45 staff members enjoy "the Zone" at Camp Carter from July 23 to 30 this year.

As always, sports and educational activities filled the better part of each day and evening, keeping campers and staff busy the whole week. There was also much discussion each day of God and His principles to keep us "on track" as to why we do these camps.

A Compass Check was held each morning and at the end of each day a question-and-answer discussion session was held. Several times during the questions and discussion with the older dorms, the interest level was so high we went past the scheduled one-hour slot.

The theme for this year was "Leadership" with a specific focus on ethical principles that are vital for all leaders. Ken Treybig, director of Camp Carter, pointed out in the opening night orientation that not only are campers and the young adult staff the future leaders of the Church, they also have an opportunity to lead right now by being good examples of God's way of life in their schools and communities. The oldest boys' and girls' dorms set wonderful examples of leadership at camp this year in many ways, even winning the clean dorm award numerous times.

After an overview of the principles and why they are important for every leader—especially for leaders aspiring to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ—the other ethical principles covered in Compass Checks through the week were honesty, respect, responsibility and fairness. On the Sabbath, the split sermons continued the theme, covering the topics of courage and compassion.

Outdoor activities (archery, basketball, flag football, horseback riding, ropes, softball, skeet, strength training and volleyball) dominated the morning schedule each day. In the afternoons, cooler or indoor activities were the mainstays—Christian Living, crafts, dance, lakefront, music, newsletter and swimming. The oldest boys' dorm and oldest girls' dorm were also given an extra afternoon at the lake, a two-hour session of golf and rappelling on the 65-foot tower.

On Tuesday evening we had an all-camp dance and on the other evenings campers were able to choose which activity they wanted to do—or they could choose to play table games or just sit and visit inside.

The Sabbath began on Friday night with another all-camp activity where various Christian living scenarios were posed and campers divided into groups to discuss how they would advise someone to handle that situation. Then a spokesman reported to the whole group and fielded questions from campers and staff members.

This year we were blessed to have a visit from Clyde Kilough, president of the United Church of God. On Wednesday evening, in an all-camp assembly, he spoke about the most important prophetic event in the New Testament—the coming Kingdom of God. He pointed out that many of the instructions of Jesus Christ tell us to focus on that future event as an anchoring point of our attention. If we are truly excited about and praying for God's Kingdom to be established as Christ commanded in Matthew 6, we will find it has a huge effect on how we live our lives.

On Saturday night the final dance was another opportunity to practice the skills learned in dance class before tearful good-byes on Sunday morning.